Should Purple Belts Be Allowed To Teach? Not According To The Jiu-Jitsu Federation Of Rio De Janeiro

Should purple belts be allowed to teach?

Not according to the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio De Janeiro.

The Federation recently put up a post on their Facebook page saying that only black belts should be allowed to teach.

Translated from Portuguese:

In Jiu-Jitsu, only black belts can teach. Only the ones that have acquired this rank have the authority and knowledge to teach. Do not forget, the presence of a black belt on the mat is obligatory! 

This would, of course, also mean that brown belts can’t teach, either.

We’re not quite sure what this entails. What if a school only has one black belt instructor and she is sick? Would it be okay if one of her purple belts covered for her, or will she have to cancel classes?

Needless to say, I feel that this decision is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve learned a lot under brown belts, purple belts, and even blue belts. Dare I say, some blue belt teachers are better than their black belt counterparts.  This reason for this is simple: just because you’re an expert doesn’t mean you can transfer that expertise to your students. Teaching isn’t only about knowing, it’s about the ability to convey knowledge in a way others — even the least experienced — will understand. The world is full of black belts who can pull off ninja-like moves, but can’t teach a student how to do an armbar. It’s also full of blue belts who can’t do much more than an armbar, but can teach that armbar so well that even the most confused student can understand it.

For what it’s worth (and I’m just a blue belt), I would strongly encourage the Jiu-Jitsu Federation to reconsider their decision.

You can check out their Facebook post below:

No Jiu Jitsu, só quem pode dar aula é quem tem a faixa preta. Quem conquistou a faixa tem a autoridade e o conhecimento…

Posted by Federação de Jiu-Jitsu do Estado do Rio de Janeiro on Friday, January 5, 2018

And for a far better opinion on the subject — in my humble, blue belt opinion, that is — check out Mr. Jiu-Jitsu’s video “Should a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu be teaching?”


  1. some backwards ass shit. It comes from a pedagogical system that dictates that the professor is the master and the sole arbiter of knowledge. the catholic church has the same theory about god and most colleges have the same approach to scholastic pursuits. Its the banking model of education. it dictates that the professor is the bestower of wealth and the student is the bank , or vessel, waiting for deposits. its a pedagogy that has been proven to be bullshit and short sighted.

  2. I guess I’d have to better understand the requirements for each belt to have a strong opinion about this policy. It seems every school is different. But if Gracie’s were handing out blue belts online, maybe they’re trying to give out purple and brown earlier too? However, my son is also a new white belt and kids’ class instructor is 17 with his blue belt. He is a great guy and awesome with the kids. Also he regularly participates in different major championships around the world. The club has a great sponsor wealthy clinic Biotex so athletes are able to participate in tournaments. Personally, the only time I would be hesitant to take advice is when the teacher is the same belt as me. As a white there is a shit ton of stuff a brown/purple or even a blue can teach you. I have tremendous respect for the Gracie’s as a whole. Their “ownership”, in my opinion, is them trying to establish their “brand” as the best. Not any different than how a car or running shoe maker pushes their brand. The worst part about the entire “control” issue is the really nasty infighting that happened between the Gracie families as more of them wanted to strike out on their own.

  3. I’d say it’s a Brazilian/cultural thing — you don’t necessarily need to apply it outside of Brazil. People learn at different levels and having a variety of instructors/teachers is a good thing. For me, I can relate to and learn best from the the purple belt who is the same body size as me. His teaching and his game click. It’s harder for me to understand/relate to my heavy weight black belt instructor who’s always going for pressure passing and deep half shit which rarely works for me.

    I also imagine a gym in Brazil has many black belts where the gyms in US are run by one or two. There’s also another point. The black belt is not the best at explaining the basics. It’s like a University Calculus Instructor trying to explain arithmetic. He’s so far ahead to explain 2+2=4. You best learn it from someone who recently learned it then slowly move up.


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